“A clot”, “a bit dodgy”, or a victim of “mob rule” – the newspapers give their judgements on Sam Allardyce following his England downfall.
Some sports writers are sure he had to go after the Daily Telegraph sting which saw him appear to suggest ways of circumventing the rules of the organisation that employs him.
Others aren’t so certain, and argue he should have been given another chance.
“He is a clot, that’s for sure,” writes Daniel Taylor, in the Guardian, “and nothing like as streetwise or intelligent as he likes to believe”, but should that have been enough to cost him his job?
“It is still not entirely straightforward understanding what the FA has seen in those secretly taped recordings to warrant the guillotine,” he goes on.
He says Allardyce was “aghast” when a Telegraph reporter suggested people could be paid to secure footballing business – a reaction which doesn’t fit “with the caricature of the man who regards rules as optional”.
Matthew Dunn, in the Daily Express, thinks “there was nothing substantively wrong with anything he said. It was just tawdry” – and he should have received “the sternest possible rebuke” rather than his P45.
He thinks Allardyce has fallen victim to a change in regime at the FA. Appointed under “chirpy cockney Greg ‘we’re gonna win the World Cup in 2022’ Dyke”, he was judged “by the more measured regime of new chairman Greg Clarke”.
“Backing Allardyce yesterday would have seen Clarke put all his chips on black – or very dark grey at best. Why should he take such a risk of more indiscretions to embrace a man who is so dyed-in-the-wool?”
“The FA should have stood by its man,” says Matthew Syed in the Times, but instead Allardyce’s departure says “much about the arbitrary nature of mob rule”.
“People should be sacked for what they say in private only if they breach a high bar of wrongdoing,” he adds.
‘Seven parts clean’
There are plenty in the press, though, who think Allardyce got what was coming to him.
Sam Wallace, chief sports writer at the Telegraph, says: “It is not good enough for an organisation that stands in judgement on the misdemeanours, and the rule-breaking of others to have a key employee who is just a little bit dodgy.
“As England manager you cannot be seven parts clean, and one-part an unofficial adviser to mysterious businessmen on the rules to circumnavigate third-party ownership.”
The Sun’s leading article agrees, saying: “Greed alone isn’t usually a sacking offence. But an England manager cannot survive if he suggests to strangers that he will flout the rules of his FA employers for money.”
Matt Butler, in the i, thinks English football has now “plummeted out of the bottom of the barrel” and is hurtling into what appears to be a “bottomless pit”.
But the game will recover, writes Martin Samuels in the Daily Mail, and indeed, he argues, if this mess creates space for Arsene Wenger to take over the job, some may even think it was all for the best,
“What can never recover, though, is the carefully constructed myth of ‘Big’ Sam Allardyce’. The man we fondly, foolishly, imagined would have done the England job for nothing. Why exactly was he looking to leverage that position so soon? Why wasn’t the challenge, the honour and prestige, not to mention the £3m salary, sufficient?”
Who else apart from Wenger could replace him?
Henry Winter, in the Times, is one throwing his backing behind Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe – “a manager of great promise and a man of high standards.”
The headlines continue to flow from the Labour Party conference in Liverpool after deputy leader Tom Watson and London Mayor Sadiq Khan gave speeches on Tuesday.
Of the former, Nigel Nelson in the Daily Mirror says he “plucked up the courage to say: ‘Capitalism is not the enemy’… Then he got really brave. He praised the governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.”
“Mr Corbyn wasn’t quite sure what to do,” Nelson continues. “The hole he was praying for to open up and swallow him didn’t materialise. So he remained fixed to his seat as all about him left theirs.”
Nigel Morris, in the i, says Sadiq Khan also had a message – or 38 – when he “pointedly reminded Jeremy Corbyn 38 times of the importance of Labour getting into office”.
“The leader only stroked his beard,” writes Patrick Kidd, in the Times. “He had listened to two fine speeches by elected leaders – one of them with a personal mandate far bigger than his own – and seen the joyous reception they had received.
“Today he needs to show that the real leader can also enthuse his people.”
The Sun is scathing about Mr Corbyn’s prospects for success. Under the headline “Red and Buried”, it says of his keynote speech: “Few will listen and fewer still will care.”
Other writers disagree though, suggesting people will care very much about what Mr Corbyn has to say on immigration.
The Mail says he is choosing to “defy the Brexit vote” by refusing to commit Labour to backing tighter immigration controls.
The Financial Times’ Jim Pickard says he is, therefore, ignoring warnings from many of his own MPs that UKIP “will continue to take away white, working class voters unless Labour does more to address concerns about migrants”.
- This is why you should stop eating Nutella immediately – there’s bad news for chocolate lovers in the Mirror
- No nappy collections if your child is over three – parents will have to show birth certificates to prove they qualify for collections, the Times tells us
- No marks for doing homework – a school has scrapped all homework because teachers are too busy, says the Sun
The birth of the first “three-parent baby” – a boy with the DNA of three people – also makes headlines on Wednesday.
Ivor Mason, professor of developmental biology at King’s College London, tells the i that supporters of the fertility technique argue small parts of the genetic code “can be exchanged without effects on an individual’s identity or personality” – but still allowing devastating diseases to be prevented.
“However, others point to growing evidence that mitochondrial DNA affects cognitive ability, ageing and possibly even personality,” he adds.
Some experts, as the Times points out, are also “concerned that the experiment had been shrouded in secrecy and carried out far from the eyes of regulators”, taking place as it did in Mexico due to a ban in place in the US.
The paper’s cartoon finds humour though, with a small boy suggesting three-parent families will mean “more Christmas presents”.
Making people click
- Greenland’s receding icecap to expose top-secret US nuclear project – Guardian
- How happy is YOUR town? – Daily Mail